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Monday, May 02, 2011

A Letter from DC

In my email box this morning, a letter written at 4 in the morning from our family priest, the man who married us, who baptised the oldest in NICU, who performed my mother's funeral.

His counsel this morning was actually the first I knew of bin Laden's death and provided the framework I used to present the news to the children as well as to process the news from my own 9-11 standpoint.

Dear Parishioners,

Some years ago, our national conscience was pierced with a dagger that penetrated our hearts, our minds, and our lives. Lives lost in New York City, Virginia, and Pennsylvania touched lives of people across this nation and around the world. The voids left in so many lives will never, never be filled or replaced. One can merely pray that those who suffered loss might someday know peace, and that those who died will find eternal rest in the arms of their "Creator, Redeemer and Friend," to quote from our cherished Anglican hymnody.

This evening we heard the news of the death of the mastermind and chief perpetrator of that assault on human life and the aspirations of so many to make this world a better, safer, and more godly place. Whilst, I admit, I will sleep perhaps more restfully this evening, it brings me no great joy to celebrate at the death of someone, however evil, who, from his birth was created in the image and likeness of God (even as I grapple greatly with that concept).

I recall 11th September 2001. The images of the towers collapsing, heroes, preserving our national monuments proclaiming , "Let's roll," and the sound and the stench emanating from the Pentagon into our home (in Old Town, Alexandria, at the time) will never be forgotten. The images of those in other parts of the world who would call themselves our enemies, rejoicing in our shock, sorrow, and loss are also still clear and vivid.

That said, the words of our Saviour are also enduring, "Love your enemies," "Pray for those who persecute you." We are called to be a "A chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's own people, in order that [we] may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called [us] out of darkness into his marvelous light." In the spirit of him who died for us and was raised from the dead to bring us life eternal, my prayer is that we might all marshal that which is good and salutary within us so that the image which others may have of us is not one of gloating over the death of one individual, but, rather, how we might employ this incident to be for us a new beginning so that all of God's creatures might now know precious they are not only in God's eyes, but in our hearts as well.

I remain, as ever

Your Rector,

St. John's, Georgetown Parish
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